Sermon Notes & References

“Down from His Glory”

Philippians 2:5-8

December 9, 2018

A. Focus on the Incarnation

    1. Before on These Verses 1

    2. The Lord of Glory (vv 5-6a) 2

    3. The Babe of Bethlehem 3

B. The Emptying of the Son (vv 5-7)

    1. What It Included 4

    2. What It Did Not Include 5

C. The Effect of This Emptying (vv 7-8)

    1. In His Family 6

    2. The Suffering Son (v 8) 7

    3. The Satisfied Saviour (v 9) 8


1 Philippians 2:5-8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Down from His Glory

 

A. Focus on the Incarnation

    1. Before on These Verses

        a. I have taught from Philippians 2:5-11 a number of times previously

        b. on one occasion it was on the joy that results from humility

            (A)    the humility that marks walking in the steps of our Lord and Teacher

            (B)    it was to this following of Christ’s example that Paul was speaking when he gave his life’s goal later in this book: “that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;” (Philippians 3:10)

        c. at another time emphasising the latter verses

            (A)    speaking of the glory following His humiliation, His resurrection, ascension and glorification

            (B)    a matter that the OT prophets strove to understand, who were “seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.” (1 Peter 1:11)

        d. but today I should like to focus upon their connection to the Incarnation of God the Son: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

 

    2. The Lord of Glory (vv 5-6a)

        a. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, …

        b. for it is God the Son of whom this passage speaks

            (A)    1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. (Genesis 1:1-3)

            (B)    as the Holy Spirit of God was working in creation, so the Son of God was carrying out the Father’s word: “All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” (John 1:3) – as the soloist sang, He is the “great Creator”

        c. this is He of whom it is said prophetically, “7 I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘Thou art My Son, Today I have begotten Thee. 8 Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Thy possession.” (Psalms 2:7-8)

            (A)    as is later confirmed by verses 9 to 11 of this chapter

            (B)    and even in apparent defeat never forfeited His divine title, “the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;” (1 Corinthians 2:8)

 

    3. The Babe of Bethlehem

        a. but this Lord of Glory entered into mankind as a helpless baby, the son by the Holy Spirit of the virgin, Mary

            (A)    He was dependent upon Mary and His father under the law, Joseph, for raiment, shelter, food, protection

            (B)    He was circumcised as were all other Jewish babies

            (C)   despite what the carol says, like every other baby his only means of communication of need was by his cries

        b. in His earliest days He was exposed to danger

            (A)    yet He lived under the promise of His heavenly Father, “For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways.” (Psalms 91:11)

            (B)    the magi came from the east, having sought Him in Herod’s court, but “… having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their own country by another way.” (Matthew 2:12)

            (C)   “Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord *appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise and take the Child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.”“ (Matthew 2:13)

            (D)   and, later when Herod was dead, the couple returned with their precious Child, “But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he departed for the regions of Galilee,” (Matthew 2:22)

        c. but from the earliest age, Jesus showed His spiritual insight as he met and asked astonishing questions of the rabbis

            (A)    He already understood what was His Father’s business

            (B)    50 And they did not understand the statement which He had made to them. 51 And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth; and He continued in subjection to them; … 52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men.(Luke 2:50-52)

        d. the Lord of Glory dwelt among us, fully human

 

B. The Emptying of the Son (vv 5-7)

        a. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

 

    2. What It Included

        a. it is beyond the capabilities of our finite minds

            (A)    we cannot comprehend the incarnation, that God the Creator entered His creation as a creature – but we can appreciate it

            (B)    we cannot comprehend the meaning of that word, “emptied” – theologians have struggled & debated about this term the ‘kenosis’ of the Christ – but its reality should impact our devotion to this our Lord

        b. also, hard to be translated, as well as to be understood, it that word ‘robbery’ in some versions, or ‘something to be grasped’ in others.

            (A)    the word comes from the verb ‘harpazo’, which is used to describe the snatching up of God’s people one day to be with their Lord ... the rapture.

            (B)    this word has two meanings:

                 (1)    a thing unlawfully seized or stolen

                 (2)    something to be retained at all costs; held onto, grasped

            (C)   so that, in a sense, both applied to the Son, who was righlty equal to God, but laid aside His rights for a time in order to carry out the will of His Father

        c. which meant that He who upholds the universe by His power, stooped down to become a Servant: “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

 

    3. What It Did Not Include

        a. of this one matter we should have no doubt: though He took upon Himself a form that imposed limitations, never at any time did God the Son ever become any less God

        b. that He is God, we cannot question, pre-exisiting His birth as man in a form that was undeniably Deity, possessing equality with God in front of the entire universe

        c. even in His human cloak, the grace of His glory evidenced itself to those who knew HIm, 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18 No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” (John 1:14-15)

        d. and one day, on the mountain, even more than that: “1 … Jesus *took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and *brought them up to a high mountain by themselves. 2 And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.” (Matthew 17:1-2)

        e. so, for a moment, the veil that He had put over Himself was drawn aside, and His true splendour became visible.

        f.  Davis 2: Paul not talking about what Christ gave up, but what He gained. Not the royal status He fosook but the role of a servant which He chose. Verb can mean pour from one vessel to another; Poured deity into form of a servant. Christ gave not up deity but gained humanity. There was no attrition in Incarnation, but His body contained Godhead bodily.

 

C. The Effect of this Emptying (vv 7-8)

        a. 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

 

    2. In His Family

        a. we do not often talk about Jesus’ life before He began His ministry at about the age of 30 – neither does the Bible

        b. but there are a number of bits of information that should make us pause and think

            (A)    when Jesus was between the ages of 12 & 30, Joseph died

            (B)    this is no real surprise because men often stayed single until they were able provide for a wife and children – for working-class carpenter that could be middle age

            (C)   Jesus was Mary’s first-born, yet: “54 And coming to His home town He began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they became astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom, and these miraculous powers? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”“ (Matthew 13:54-56)

                 (1)    there are many reasons to reject the false teaching that these were cousins or children of Joseph by an earlier marriage

                 (2)    but that they were indeed Joseph & Mary’s own children

            (D)   these younger siblings meant He had to work until they could take up their own and Mary’s care

            (E)    I’ve heard people blame God for taking away a parent but Jesus took this as part of His servant training

        c. nor did His brothers recognise Him (until after He arose from death)

            (A)    they were not adverse to giving advice, either

            (B)    “3 His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here, and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may behold Your works which You are doing. 4 For no one does anything in secret, when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” 5 For not even His brothers were believing in Him.” (John 7:3-5)

        d. the unkindest hurts are those which come from one’s own family, those whom we especaily love – “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

 

    3. The Suffering Son (v 8b)

        a. He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

            (A)    this really takes us to the very extreme of Christ’s emptying HImself – the ignominious death on the cross

            (B)    this was a deliberate act in His incarnation by the Son of God – and it was done for our sakes

            (C)   “17 … I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” (John 10:17-18)

        b. thus He lived as was foretold: “He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” (Isaiah 53:3)

 

    4. The Satisfied Saviour

        a. but the story does not end there, for the folloing verse introduces the result, “Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,” (Philippians 2:9)

        b. as also has been forefold, “As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:11)

 

    5. “The great Creator became my Saviour and all God’s fullness dwelleth in Him.” 3


Footnotes

Endnotes

1

© 2018 by Garth Hutchinson, Faith Fellowship Baptist Church of Aurora (Ontario): may be distributed or quoted freely, only let this be done to the glory “of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus ii.13). Except as noted otherwise, quotations are from the New American Standard version, used by permission. Various other English versions of the Holy Bible may be used in this sermon. Explanatory additions to the Bible text are shown in [braces]. Version identifiers are:

 

              AV          Authorized (King James) Version of 1769

              NAS        New American Standard version © 1960, 1995 The Lockman Foundation (usually the 1995 edition)

              NIV         New International Version © 1984 by the International Bible Society

              NKJV              New King James Version © 1979 Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers

       NRSV             New Revised Standard Version © 1989 Division of Christian Education of national Council of Churches of Christ

       JBP         The New Testament in Modern English, J. B. Phillips, Geoffrey Bles Ltd

       UBS        Greek text of the United Bible Societies; particularly that published in 1954 by The British and Foreign Bible Society

       WEY               The New Testament in Modern Speech © 1902, 1912 R. F. Weymouth

 

Some of the commentaries and resources used in the preparation of this message are identified as follow:

 

       Barnes –  Notes on the New Testament by Alfred E. Barnes

       Calvin –   Commentaries on the Bible, by Jean Calvin; translated into English & published in the Online Bible.

       EB   -      The Expositor’s Bible, edited by Sir William Robertson Nicoll, C.H., D.D., LL.D., 1903

       EBC             The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, © 1986 Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 49530, MI:

       EGT             The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Hodder & Stoughton; 1903

       Gill       Exposition of the Old Testament, Exposition of the New Testament, by John Gill, D.D.

       JFB  -      Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown; S. S. Scranton & Co. 1872

       Kerux –   The sermon & illustration data base compiled by Rev. David Holwick at the web-site, www.holwick.com.

       RWP             Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament, by Dr. A. T. Robertson

2

Apologies: I found this quote among my notes, but no identification of this ‘Davis’.

3

‘Down from His Glory’, by William Emmanuel Booth-Clibborn.